Last night I did it. I wrote my second letter to Ed. I was crying the entire time (after a fight over my eating/exercise with my mom). It feels just as raw and powerful as the first one. I’ll post both of them.
The first one we were told to write as a breakup letter during my second week at PHP. I was at a very different place in recovery than any of the other girls, so mine wasn’t exactly a breakup but I was still really proud of it.
The second one, Jenny didn’t give me a format at all. She wanted me to read my last letter and write Ed again like I would write a note to a boyfriend or whatever. I really like how it came out.
The time has come. You have been a part of me for way too long. You have promised me so many things: thinness, beauty, acceptance, worth, love; but you left out the fact that getting those through you is both impossible and self-destructive.
I am just beginning to see what you have really done to me. You have taken my zest for life.You have wreaked havoc on my body and mind. I have lost focus on the things that truly matter because all you let me think of is food and calories and exercise and being thin. I only have you to thank for my weight loss, but I’m starting to see that shrinking my body didn’t do me any good in all the areas you promised it would.
I have you to thank for all the bad. Anxiety and depression have skyrocketed. My once healthy hair has fallen out and become thin. I am constantly cold from all the fat you said needed to go. I have isolated myself because going to any social event would mean having to eat. I worry all who are close to me with my eating and appearance. I am so physically and mentally exhausted everyday that all I am able to do is please you. I have lost all ability to concentrate on anything else at all. You have taken over my entire life. I want to take it back.
Maybe I don’t fully believe that recovery is possible for me right now. Even with so much uncertainty of what I need to do, I see that I need to change. I want to truly live again. If it’s even possible, I want to one day say I love myself and mean it. I want to be able to go through a day without worrying so much about food. I want to be able to accept people’s compliments and not automatically discredit them. I want to feel confident. I want to be happy. I want to have a healthier body. I want to look in the mirror and not be disgusted. I want to be free from you.
I don’t think I will ever be 100% ready to let go of you, but despite that I am going to try. I don’t want to be stuck with you the rest of my life. I deserve to be free and recover. This isn’t goodbye yet because I am simply not ready. The day for goodbye will come, but until then I will try my best to push you away.
Written August 6th, 2014
It has been nearly a month since I last wrote you, and a lot has changed since then.
You told me from the very beginning that Forest View was a terrible place and wouldn’t help. You are a liar. I have gained so many tools to use against you. I feel stronger. Of course, even now you point out I also had to gain weight. It’s hard to deal with but maybe not as hard as living with you. I have a LONG way to go, but Forest View has put me on that path.
You have made my life hell since discharge. Every moment of every day is a constant battle. I want you out of my head now! I want to be able to focus on other things and not feel so terrible about myself. I want to get through a day without lying to my mom, throwing away food, calorie counting, overexercising, or any of the other behaviors you still make me do today.
I know the last time I wrote I didn’t know if I could say goodbye yet. Today I still feel that way. Yes, I wish I could not care about food or weight or any of it, but at the same time it DOES feel good restricting and seeing myself lose weight.
I want to get rid of you. I want to be me. I want to think for myself. I want to not be depressed or anxious or withdrawn. I want to be happy and you won’t allow that. Pack up your bags and prepare yourself, because soon you will be evicted from my life.
Written September 4, 2014
As I reread and compare the two letters, a glaring fact is that I have a long way to go. I don’t want to focus on that though. As Hannah taught us in PHP (a good story for another day, maybe I’ll do lessons a learned from PHP post soon), you have to work against that perfectionistic piece of your mind that says “you should be better and you should do xyz” and realize that while you may not be where you want to be you have made progress and you continue to make progress. So where I stand tonight is I have worked hard this past month. I can’t let go of Ed yet but the things I have learned and will continue to learn in therapy are helping me fight to be free again. I am not better yet and I am okay with admitting it because I realize how much work there is to be done.